Whether it’s talking on the phone with electors and congressional aides or holding a conversation with political opponents in your own family over the holidays, bridging ideological divides can be frustrating and difficult. This workshop uses improvisational techniques to help participants learn how to create effective lines of communication particularly with those who it seems they have nothing in common.

Work with accomplished actors and trainers to develop your own capacity for skillful debate and productive discourse. Through improvisation, participants learn how to use acting techniques such as rhetoric, body language, eye contact, and positive projection, to help defend themselves or others in tense, isolated and/or hostile conversations. This is a self-defense class designed to bring people together or as a participant said it’s designed to “lead people back to each other.”

Tarik Davis has a long history of performing and writing comedy. He strives to cross-pollinate performance styles and audiences in all his work. Past experience includes performing for The Upright Citizens Brigade in NY, Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and The Second City in Chicago. Now based in NYC, Tarik currently teaches improv to children & adults. He writes and self-produces his own video projects, appears in commercial spots, and occasionally doodles. He can currently be seen on the hit BRIC TV web series Brooklynification and on recent sketches on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Chris Griswold is the founder and Academic Director of Thunderbolt Comedy. Having taught improv since 1999, Chris is currently one of the world’s most prolific improv instructors, coaching more than 2000 hours in 2014 and 2015 alone. Chris is a writer and actor in New York City, appearing in commercials for Android and the Brother P-Touch Label Maker, as well as PSAs for the United Nation’s #HeForShe program, and Project #UROK. Chris is originally self-taught in improv, but he has trained with both the Annoyance Theater and extensively with the Upright Citizens Brigade, where he previously worked as a registrar and diversity liaison. With a history in social media and journalism, Chris also teaches private workshops for business and conferences in topics such as branding, team-building, and creativity training.